Silver or silver plated? What is the difference and why should I care?
Like the trusty steed that the Lone Ranger rode into his adventures these lovelies will shine on through and grace your dinner table for decades.
These will give you more years of service than the servants at Downton Abbey.
Now at Downton all the silver may have been one hundred percent sterling because their family came from humungous piles of riches but for the peasants like you and me - silver became more available to us in the form of silver plate. Which is like a silver and copper sandwich. Silver on top copper on the bottom, the two metals perform as one and it looks like it is pure silver! Decadence and charm! Bewitching tea sets and silver service trays that no one would be able to tell wasn't legit. (scroll down to keep reading)
We have a silversmith by the name of Thomas Boulsover to thank for this little, but significant accident. He accidentally overheated a customer's silver knife, adhering it to a copper handle by mistake. So around 1770 he quit Sheffield's Cutlers Company and started his own business with the "new silver" making buttons for a fraction of the cost. And he made a mint. But unfortunately for Thomas, silver plate is called Sheffield's silver after his original employer and not Boulsover...after him. So - long story short, silverplate is a thin coating of silver over a cheaper metal. And pure silver is marked either with a .925 or a STERLING stamp. It can also be chemically tested if it is antique. Oh did I mention silverplate is MUCH less expensive? Well it is.
Come to Capital City Antique Mall in Salt Lake City where all of the photographed pieces in this post are available now (probably not for long though.) See the dedicated cabinet filled with silver delights, from the little elegant matchboxes and sugar tongs, to silverware, delicate serving spoons and tea sets. Either way get out your finest livery, gloves and new spring frock, bake a batch of brownies, and make like a Windsor and have High Tea with your finest silver setting - and if you are like me turn on the newest episode of Downton and get ready for some mildly scandalous and highly diverting drama. Tally-ho Silver Away!